Saturday, May 31, 2014

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

~ Portia Nelson ~
 (There's a Hole in My Sidewalk)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You are not a single you

When you fall asleep,
you go from the presence of yourself
into your own true presence.
You hear something
and surmise that someone else in your dream
has secretly informed you.
You are not a single "you."
No, you are the sky and the deep sea.
Your mighty "Thou," which is nine hundredfold,
is the ocean, the drowning place
of a hundred "thou's" within you.

Mathnawi III: 1300-1303
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996

Sunday, May 11, 2014


take my spirit totally from my body, 
so that I may no longer have shape and name in the world!
At this moment I am drunk in Thee - give me another cup! 
Then I may be obliterated from the two worlds in Thee, and be done with it.
When I have been annihilated through Thee and be come what Thou knowest,
then I will take the cup of non- existence and drink it, cup after cup.
When the spirit becomes radiant through Thee,
when the candle lights up - if not consumed by Thee it is raw, raw.
Give me now the wine of nonexistence instant by instant; 
when I have entered nonexistence, 
I will not know the house from its roof.
When your nonexistence increases, 
the spirit will prostrate itself to you a hundred times - 
oh you to whose nonexistence thousands of existences are slave!
Give me wine, measure by measure! 
Deliver me from my own existence! 
Wine is Thy special grace, intellect Thy general grace.
Send up waves from nonexistence to steal me away!
How long will I pace the Oceans shore in fear?
The snare of my king Shams al-Din is catching prey in Tabriz, 
but I have no fear of the snare, 
for I am within it.

  Ghazal 1716
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Make yourself low

Loving kindness is drawn to the saint, as medicine goes
to the pain it must cure.
Where there is pain, the remedy follows:
wherever the lowlands are, the water goes.
If you want the water of mercy, make yourself low;
then drink the wine of mercy and be drunk.
Mercy upon mercy rises to your head like a flood.
Don't settle on a single mercy, O son.
Bring the sky beneath your feet
and listen to celestial music everywhere.
Mathnawi II: 1938-1942
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight", Threshold Books, 1994
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